Step Up For Sligo!
As the world copes with the impact of COVID19, Sligo Public Participation Network (PPN), supported by Sligo Volunteer Centre, Sligo County Council and The Sligo Champion, want to recognise the wonderful acts of community support and volunteering that have been taking place across the county. We want to celebrate all those who chose to Step Up For Sligo.
Are you one of the many people across Sligo who have stepped up to support their neighbours, friends and community? Have you helped take care of older family or neighbours? Have you raised money for charity? Delivered food or other essential items? Have you helped to homeschool younger children? Or helped people use technology to stay connected with their loved ones? What else have you done?
We want to hear your story.
Help create a long-lasting record of the valuable role you played, or continue to play, in your community as it faces the challenges brought by COVID-19. Tell the story through your own eyes.
Share your photographs, video clips, stories, and anything else that tells your story of volunteering in Sligo this unprecedented time. Details on how to get involved and tips to help you tell your story are here.
Your images, videos and stories will be shared on this website and the PPN social channels.
At the end of Summer, we will create a montage of your submissions, telling your story of how people volunteered to support their community through COVID19. This will be shown at the PPN Awards Ceremony once Covid-19 restrictions allow. Some content may also be used in other national and local media.
Sligo PPN want to hear from everyone on this project. So, if you organise volunteering activity, are an active volunteer, create content to tell a volunteering story, or work hard to like and share the content we publish on our social channels with your community, we would like to acknowledge your efforts.
However, we particularly encourage younger people to use their social media networking skills to promote content and get the message about this project as far as possible. The PPN will award certificates, upon request, to all those younger people who take part in this project.
Those who make a particular effort in terms of content creation and generation of interest will be recognised at the Countywide PPN Awards Event, once rescheduled post Covid-19.
The most engaging stories that come into us will feature here.
This week we feature My Story : Volunteering through Covid 19 Lockdown, by Chris Davies
My Story of Volunteering through COVID 19 lockdown
by Christopher Davis : Community Support worker for Calry Active Retirement Association which hosts 40 members
When volunteers were requested to register with Sligo PPN at the outset of the COVID 19 lockdown I automatically put my name forward for the Calry area so as to be in a position to assist the vunerable in the area including Calry Active Retirement members.
The Emergency Help Desk contacted me as soon as Garda Clearance was received with the assistance of Ciara Herity of the Volunteer Centre to see if I was in a position to assist with some calls they received and from that day on to the present I have assisted with:
- Pension collection
- Prescription collection
- Disseminating update information forwarded by PPN in relation to the latest information on COVID 19 to Calry Active Retirement Members
- Providing hand sanitizer, face visors and face masks to those who needed to leave their homes to attend appointments
- Delivery of meals on wheels
- Bringing persons to and from Doctors appointments
Once I made a first contact with a person requiring assistance I gave them my number if the wished to contact me directly which many of them did and this hopefully helped to ease the load of calls on the emergency responders.
As the lockdown continued the area I responded to expanded beyond the Calry area as follows:
- Sligo Town
- All Calry area
- Five Mile Bourne
Advantages from responding:
- I have met with many grateful people who enjoyed the visit and a chat while receiving their delivery be it of shopping or information leaflets. I have also gotten to know staff in the various shops and post offices and built up a rapour with them.
- Also I now know where everything is in many of the supermarkets and can carry out shopping tasks in very quick time.
As with advantages there are always disadvantages namely:
- Asked to pick up pre ordered non essential items at shops eg. Tea towels
- 2 volunteers arriving at the chemist to pick up medications for the same person
- Call to pick up shopping 15 mins before shop closure especially when a fair distance away from the shop and just sitting down to own meal
Those cocooning enjoyed being kept informed of the latest up to date information, had an opportunity to discuss it and clarify issues especially those who did not have access to social media / internet.
They also enjoyed the programs that were run on the local radio each morning for them for example the weekly exercise program which took place on the Francie Bylan show and which ran for a number of weeks and of late the weekly health and nutrition programs.
Even though the initial lockdown has passed for the present, there are still some people in need of assistance. I am continuing to shop for some elderly who are still afraid to leave their home. During the Summer months grass cutting overtook the shopping especially for those who were not up to the physical effort to carry out the chore themselves through illness etc. Meals on wheels delivery continue and also Doctors appointments. The opening of the hairdressers encouraged a number of elderly / vunerable groups to venture outside again.
The elderly / vunerable continue to seek information. They have gone out of their way to meet the changes that have been forced upon them since COVID 19 arrived. They are constantly looking out for each other and using the telephone to make contact with each other.
They are going to find the Winter months very long because of the fact their weekly meetings are adjourned for the present.
The assistance of Jude Mannion, the Sligo PPN and the emergency response volunteers was a great help during a very difficult time for many and they all helped me provide the service I signed up for in keeping me posted with up to date information etc.
Having confirmation letter for Sligo County Council helped greatly at checkpoints which enabled me to travel freely throughout the county and maintain contact with those cocooning and in need of services.
Chris, in this picture is receiving a batch of specially commissioned Bealtaine postcards from Jude Mannion of Sligo Co Council. The idea of the postcards is to follow the old Irish Bealtaine tradition of leaving May flowers at your neighbours door, said to bring good luck, Chris distributed these to members of the active retirement members in the Calry area.